Women's Health, a magazine that aims to be a bastion of wellness for its readers, is making a New Year's resolution: to ditch some popular buzzwords. According to a letter by editor-in-chief Amy Keller Laird, the phrases "bikini body" and "drop two sizes" will never again appear on the cover of Women's Health. Instead, and according to the results of a recent poll of its readers, the magazine will instead prioritize words like "toned," "sexy" and "strong."
"You told us you don't love the words 'shrink' and 'diet,' and we're happy to say we kicked those to the cover curb ourselves over the past year," Laird wrote. "But we're still using two other phrases — 'bikini body' and 'drop two sizes' — that you want retired. Since our goal is always to pump you up, and never to make you feel bad, here's our pledge: They're gone. They'll no longer appear on Women's Health covers."
To explain the publication's decision, and perhaps to let the terms down gently, Laird penned two "Dear John" letters to the phrases:
Dear "Bikini Body,"
You're actually a misnomer, not to mention an unintentional insult: You imply that a body must be a certain size in order to wear a two-piece. Any body — every body — is a bikini body. You've got a shaming, negative undertone that's become more than annoying. Listen, rocking a bikini does require confidence, but we'd rather focus on the greater benefits of getting a strong-as-hell core: running, surfing, dancing, climbing, being able to carry a 2-year-old up and down the stairs 10 times a day. When one reader said, "I hate how women's magazines emphasize being skinny or wearing bikinis as the reason to be healthy," it became so clear: We never want to be that type of women's magazine. So, "Bikini Body," see ya. Wouldn't wanna be ya.
Dear "Drop Two Sizes,"
We've been in a relationship for most of WH's 10-year history, so it's tough to tell you this, but the time has come: We've grown apart. Frankly, we've outgrown you. Yes, it's true that many of us are looking to drop a few pounds—surveys and studies prove as much. But two sizes in one month? Not super practical, or even all that healthy. Sorry, but women in 2016 want stories that, as one reader so aptly suggested, "focus on wellness and less on unrealistic weight-loss goals." Simply put, "Drop Two Sizes," it's over. Feel free to move on with some other magazine's cover, but we're no longer your girl.
The decision to exclude the terms may seem minor to some, however it's a symbolic leap forward for how the media speaks to and portrays women in print, in advertisements and online. As proof of the backlash against terms like "beach body," and the feminist activists behind such protests, consider Protein World's recent controversial "Beach Body" campaign this past summer.
The ad, which featured model Renee Somerfield in a yellow bikini, asked "Are you beach body ready?" The campaign drew fury from residents in London when it debuted, and continued to spark outrage upon its arrival in the United States for "fat shaming" women and upholding a certain standard of health, beauty and wellness.
After the ad campaign's debut, the public was ready to hit back:
Women's Health's decision to banish the phrases was seen as a sign of progress to some: